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"What Color was Captain Kirk's Tunic"

STAR TREK: The Original Series "Requiem for Methuselah" 
As broadcast in 1969(left), and color corrected for TOS: Remastered in 2008(right).

“Why is your Captain Kirk tunic green?”

When ANOVOS first brought our Premier Star Trek tunics to some of the conventions we attended, we always got the same questions: “Why is your Captain Kirk tunic green?” “Shouldn’t Captain Kirk’s shirt be gold?” and so on. 

While we can understand the confusion, the fact is that the costume William Shatner wore in the third season of Star Trek was this precise shade of avocado-green, and that it only looked gold on camera. When we told customers this some understood and some didn’t, and some walked away saying that they didn’t care what color it was on the stage, Kirk’s tunic was gold. 

 It was the last comment that always got to us. “You don’t care? We’ve made a tunic that could pass for an original in the Smithsonian, and you don’t care?”. It turns out some prefer their memory to the real thing. Regardless, we decided to stick to our pursuit of accuracy and focus on creating a perfect copy.


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But what was the cause of the confusion in the first place? The change in shade to the naked eye (under most lighting conditions, even natural light) is so subtle that you’d be hard pressed to even discern it. Under most conditions it’s just a pinch more gold/yellow, but in an episode of Star Trek the shirt would turn decidedly gold. Why? 

There were actually a number of different factors that led to this color shift. Stage lighting and optical color timing did their part to shift the color of the intended green to gold, but another factor had to do with the film stock The Original Series was shot on. 


The Eastman Kodak 5251 negative film that was used for TOS had a color range that favored a warmer pallet. This tended to shift things more towards a yellow shade, and how we get a gold tunic from the green that William Ware Theiss intended for the show's "Unrestricted Line Officers."  



Taking all that into account even regular photography can shift the color of the tunic to something more gold. I call this “The Camera Trick”, and if you saw us at conventions in the past you might have seen it. 

Here I am in my tunic, pictured outdoors in natural daylight without a filter.

Let's take a look at one of our Premier Kirk Tunics. The same shirt, in two photos with different lighting. 

Taken indoors, artificial light, no filter. One with the camera flash (left) and one with no flash (right). 

I just hold my phone in camera mode over it and what happens is exactly what happened with TV cameras in 1969 – the Command Tunic turns gold!

So here we are - The definitive Classic Star Trek Command Tunic. The third Season uniform for those that want a precise replica of what William Shatner wore as Captain James T. Kirk.

It has correct patterning taken directly from original sources, full length zipper (to allow for the actor’s hair and make-up), spring weave collar fabric, body fabric made from custom milled diamond weave double knit fabric, our perfected rank braid and Starfleet Starship Duty Insignia, and the actual “avocado-green-gold” color formula used by the Star Trek costume department. All proudly Made in the USA.

This costume tunic replica is crafted by hand for those collectors who want nothing less than what was worn on the sound stage.

At the same time we are Trekkies ourselves, and so it was also designed to be a perfect wearable replica of the uniform tunics worn by Captain Kirk aboard the Enterprise in 2269.

🖖 LLAP,
John 
  

John Cooley 
John Cooley is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.  

John Cooley September 01, 2020 0 tags (show)
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